Farmers and exporters of agricultural products have been encouraged by the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) to adhere to quality and approved standards to remain competitive on the international market.
Adhering to internationally accepted standards is also expected to prevent import restrictions and export bans on agricultural products from Ghana.
At a public awareness workshop in Accra last Thursday the Director General of the Ghana Standards Authority, Professor Alex Dodoo, said it was important for exporters of agricultural products to consult the GSA and other regulatory agencies for export quality advice to ensure that their produce were acceptable on the international market.
“The specifications must be met because if you do not meet them, the products are going to be thrown out,” he said.
As a result, he said the GSA was working around the clock “to ensure that we are competitive and make more profit so that we can look after our children and our communities”.
The workshop, which was organised by the GSA, in collaboration with the German National Metrology Institute (PTB), was on the theme:
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“Leveraging Quality Infrastructure as a tool to promote Ghanaian Export”.
It was organised to highlight the relevant permits and certificates that were required of exporters to meet the quality requirements of the international market.
Given that food safety and quality requirements could not be overlooked, Prof. Dodoo said Ghanaian producers must maintain internationally accepted standards if they wanted to break into foreign markets.
“The GSA and other regulatory bodies are ready to serve exporters,” he assured.
For her part, the Project Coordinator of PTB, an implementation agency of the German Development Cooperation (GIZ), Ms Carola Heider, said the workshop was part of a broader project aimed at increasing and verifying the quality of agricultural products and foodstuffs produced in the country for the export market.
The collaboration between the PTB and the GSA, she said, was to strengthen the range and utilisation of services for the quality assurance of agricultural products.
She said the project involved awareness creation to examine the quality infrastructure services necessary to increase the quality of products and to check them competently along the agricultural value chain.
Ms Heider said beyond the challenges associated with the quality of pesticides on the market, most testing and calibration services for agricultural products and foodstuffs in the country were operational at a good level.
As a result, she said to strengthen exports, the specific product requirements of the intended markets must be well known by exporters to help in meeting those requirements.
“The products have to meet these requirements and this must be verified through internationally recognised test methods here in Ghana,” she noted.